Ohio After Roe: A special report on what happened when Ohio banned abortion after 6 weeks
The U.S. Supreme Court's June 24, 2022 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark case legalizing abortion nationwide, was not a surprise. A draft of the opinion had been leaked a month earlier.
In Ohio, however, many were startled by the state's swift implementation of its 2019 Heartbeat Law. Within hours of the Supreme Court decision, Ohio's legal limit for an abortion dropped from 22 weeks of pregnancy to about six weeks. During the three months it was enforced before it was halted by a state constitutional challenge, the Heartbeat Law created apprehension and confusion for folks on all sides of the abortion debate.
“Ohio After Roe” captures people in the very moment of tremendous and consequential change. Their surprising, nuanced and intimate perspectives will continue to have value in the public discussion about abortion and the public policy that comes from it long after the shock waves from the end of Roe subsides.
On the day Roe fell, Dr. David Burkons was providing abortions at his Cuyahoga Falls clinic. By nightfall, some of the legal procedures he performed that day were now banned.
Abortion opponents cheer Roe’s fall, but a Toledo ‘crisis’ pregnancy center sees “devastating” panic“Crisis” pregnancy centers try to encourage women considering abortion to choose parenting or adoption instead. But Heartbeat of Toledo’s Gina Bonino says the Heartbeat Law is causing clients to rush to get an abortion before it’s no longer one of their options.
Ohio is a purple state with ruby-red abortion laws. Observers of Ohio’s legislature say this paradox is made possible by gerrymandered districts that heavily favor the Republican Party. As activists on both sides prepare for more legal and political battles, some wonder: What is the value of returning abortion rights to Ohio’s state lawmakers when a voter’s power to choose their elected representatives has been undermined?